Lost your mojo? 5 ways to re-ignite those flames of desire.

by | Oct 6, 2010 | Health & News

photo credit: Herval

Has your sex life taken a dive even though you are still interested in your partner?  You are not alone.  According to the recent 2009 Sex, Romance, and Relationships Survey released by the AARP in May 2010, people’s sex drives have been dropping at an alarming rate(1).  The study, which included a random sample of 1,670 American men and women aged 45 and older, reveals some intriguing findings.  Between 2004 and 2009, the percentage of people in the 50s who say they have sex once a week dove nearly 10 points for both sexes (women dropped from 43 to 32% and men from 49 to 41%).  Other age groups also show similar decreases.

One alarming statistic of this survey shows how sex has definitely “cooled down” for many menopausal women.  Approximately 1 in 5 women in their 50s say they’d be quite happy to never have sex again.  About 1 in 50 men in their 50s agree.

Every day in my gynecological practice, I see perimenopausal and menopausal women concerned about their lost desire, or the “urge to merge” as I like to call it.

Let me share 5 ways that you can re-ignite those flames of desire:

1)  Be real – accept some ups and downs.
Realize that your “urge to merge” fluctuates during certain times of your life, especially during the perimenopausal and menopausal years.  Menstrual cycles will be erratic during these 2-8 years before menopause, and this fluctuation can lead to diminished desire.  With the precipitous drop of estrogen associated with menopause (defined as no menstrual cycles for over 12 months), vaginal pain and discomfort with sex is quite common.  Discuss these changes with your partner; communication is key to intimacy.

2) Move your body.
Many studies have shown that exercising and feeling more “toned” increases self-esteem, body image and desire.  Regular exercise also increase the energy that a busy and often sedentary life may be zapping and that a healthy sex life needs.  So start using that gym membership, get outside and walk, and show off your curves!

3) Eat “real” foods.
Nourish your body with natural foods such as green leafy veggies, nuts, fruits and whole grains.  These foods are essential for production of critical sex hormones and brain chemicals, neurotransmitters.  Avoid refined, synthetic, highly processed and saturated foods as these will make your body feel sluggish and decrease your desire.

4) Nourish your mind.
Increase your libido by balancing your healthy body and spirit with a healthy mind.  Replenish your brain stores by taking time to meditate and allowing yourself adequate sleep.  Get creative and start using your “right” brain more:  take an art class, read poetry, listen to music, and awaken your imagination!

5) Beware of stress!
Stress is one of the leasing libido killers, especially for women.  In general, women remember details more vividly and therefore feel the effects of stress more acutely than men do.  Practicing yoga or getting a soothing massage can help you slow down.  Nurturing healthy relationships can also help curtail the negative effects of stress.  Recent studies have shown that social bonding between women increase their levels of oxytocin, also known as the calming hormone(2).  Oxytocin, in turn, decreases the level of stress hormone, cortisol.  So make time to meet with friends for a coffee or a glass of wine, and devote time for physical intimacy with your partner.

You deserve good health, happiness and passion, so try these tips and discover the “hot mama” in you!

(1) Sex, Romance, and Relationship: AARP Survey of Midlife and Older Adults, www.aarp.org/relationships/love-sex/info-05-2010/2009

(2) Taylor, Shelley et al. 2000, “Female Responses to Stress: Tend and Befriend, Not Fight or Flight.” Psychological Review 107(3):419-429.